Apprentices aged 16 -18 can be fully funded so that there is no training cost apart from the apprentice’s wages.
We can also access other funds to help towards the cost of the course for anyone over the age of 19, subject to availability. Each Apprentice is assigned a qualified assessor to support them through their programme of study. The assessor will come into the workplace at least once a month to work with the Apprentice and complete the assessments and knowledge units.
How much will I get paid?
As of April 2018, the minimum wage for an apprentice is £3.70 per hour. This applies to any apprentice under 19 years of age, or anyone 19 and above who is in their first year of an apprenticeship. Anyone over 19 who has finished their first year is entitled to national minimum wage:
|Year||25 and over||21 to 24||18 to 20||Under 18||Apprentice|
So, for example, a 24 year old apprentice doing the first year of their course is entitled to £3.70 p/h.
A 19 year old doing the second year of their course is entitled to £5.90 p/h
Of course, this is only the national minimum rates and lots of employers choose to pay their apprentices more than this.
How many hours will I work?
An apprentice has to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. On average, they tend to work 37-40 hours, although this will vary depending on the industry.
What if I don’t like the course?
Starting an apprenticeship is a commitment, and you should not embark on one without giving it serious consideration. Of course, things can go wrong- maybe you’ve realised the industry isn’t the right fit for you, or you’ve decided you want to pursue a more academic route. Neither of these is a reason to quit an apprenticeship- stick with it if you can. Within 12 months, you’ll have gained a nationally recognised qualification equivalent to 2 A levels (for level 3), and have a wealth of practical experience which includes many transferable skills if you choose to pursue something else later. Work readiness skills are not to be overlooked and many employers value this as highly as, or even higher than, academic skills.
Apprenticeships can also be changed. Let’s say you were doing a Level 2 Business Administration, based equally within two departments. If you do a few weeks and decide that one avenue is more focused to your interests or skills, talk to your line manager- you may find they are happy to alter your course for you. After all, employers want their employees to be happy too!
Can I do two apprenticeships at the same time?
It’s not possible to do two apprenticeships simultaneously as each contract is for full time positions, i.e. a minimum of 30 hours a week. However, there is nothing stopping you finishing one apprenticeship and then doing a different one- as long as it’s not the same as one you’ve already done. So for example, you can do a level 2 Business Administration, then a level 3 Business Administration, then maybe a level 2 Health and Social Care… etc.
How will an apprenticeship benefit me?
With the cost of university climbing higher and higher, and the job market becoming more and more competitive, apprenticeships are fast becoming a popular alternative, and for good reason. There are many benefits to being an apprentice, such as:
- Earn while you learn- gain knowledge and skills in your preferred industry, without accruing huge debts.
- Hands-on experience- learn the skills needed in your profession, in a practical rather than theoretical setting.
- Networking- starting work earlier than someone who chooses an academic route allows you to build relationships and connection with people in the industry. After all, it’s all about who you know!
- Self-confidence- many of our apprenticeships report that they feel very confident in their role, and have more faith in their ability.
Want to know more? Read our blog ‘Why should you choose an apprenticeship?’
What responsibilities will I have as an apprentice?
An apprentice is an employee, and is therefore subject to all the same rules as their colleagues. You will be expected to adhere to all company policies and procedures, and will be treated just as fairly as any other. Of course, you will not be expected to perform tasks with the same level of skill or speediness as someone who has being doing the job for years… but you will be expected to follow instructions, so always ask for help when needed! You’ll be given an induction to your role, and will have plenty of training- both on and off the job. As an apprentice, you will have someone assigned to oversee your work and support you in your role; the amount of independence you have in your role depends on how confident and capable you are.
As for particular duties, that will depend on the position you’ve applied for. Your responsibilities will be set out for you at application.
What can I do after an apprenticeship?
There are several routes of progression after completing an apprenticeship.
- Advance to a higher level of apprenticeship-
If you enjoyed your level 2 childcare, you could progress to a level 3 childcare and pursue a supervisory position with your own key children, for example.
- Stay with the company-
The vast majority of apprentices remain in employment once completing their course. Over two-thirds of these remain with the same company. After all, 1 in 5 employers say members of their higher management team are former apprentices.
- Work for another company-
An apprenticeship is a nationally recognised qualification, and is highly valued by employers. Upon completing your apprenticeship, if you find there isn’t a position for you at your current company, or you want to pursue different opportunities- go for it! With a minimum of a year of practical experience, plus a qualification, you’ll have an advantage over school leavers or graduates when applying for positions.
Having chosen to take the apprenticeship route, don’t think you’ve shut the door on higher education. A level 3 apprenticeship is considered equivalent to 2 A levels, and although not strictly awarded UCAS points, most universities will happily accept experience gained through an apprenticeship. Higher apprenticeships (level 4) can sometimes lead to a recognised foundation degree, and some even offer the opportunity to progress to level 7, which is equivalent to postgraduate degree level. Several universities have started to offer a new programme of Degree Apprenticeships; 3-6 years of a working with part time day release at university, in which you will qualify with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.